Crime Has No Home in Toms River, Councilman Slams Hill Administration for Inaction Ahead of Shooting

TOMS RIVER, NJ – Toms River Township officials today are being blamed for inaction to prevent a shooting that took place at a hookah lounge operating as an illegal nightclub and serving alcohol to its patrons without a state liquor license.

Toms River Councilman Justin Lamb who also works as a police officer in the county today said crime has no home in Toms River.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families of this senseless violence,” Councilman Lamb said. “Thank you to our police department for the swift response as always. Grateful that our first responders were not harmed. The Governing Body needs to take action now to ensure the safety of our residents moving forward.”

“Crime has no home in Toms River,” he added.

On July 14th, the township issued a violation against the lounge for changing the use of the business without a permit. Further violations were issued, including the mixing of drinks for customers in the business.

Multiple local business owners lodged informal complaints about the business to Mayor Maurice Hill who feared the situation at the lounge would eventually escalate into violence and a bigger community nuisance. Nobody thought it would escalate to murder.

That’s what happened Friday night, when two gunmen allegedly opened fire at the business, killing one and sending two others to the hospital. One of those gunshot victims has been identified as being in critical condition.

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We reached out to Art Gallagher, press secretary for Mayor Hill on Saturday and have yet to receive a return call.

Local business owners also feel Hill and his administration dropped the ball by not pushing the issue further. Hill instituted a barrier island curfew when barrier island families complained about unruly behavior, but the complaints against the hookah lounge were not responded to as vigorously as those on the barrier island. Now, one person is dead, another is in critical condition in the hospital and a once peaceful and quiet community has been shattered by big city violence.